Web 2.0: Marketing by Providing Value

As I noted in a previous post on Web 2.0, marketing on the “new” web is about providing value to prospective customers. I was recently able to connect with Kwame Kuadey of Gift Card Rescue to discuss his web 2.0 strategy.  What I found is that, regardless of your industry, the basic principles of web 2.0 apply.

Kwame began marketing Gift Card Rescue through traditional means: he set-up a website, initiated a branding campaign, and “put a stake in the world wide web’s ground.” What he learned was that the old theory of ‘build it and they will come’ is only partially true. In an effort to increase traffic to Gift Card Rescue’s website he began a blog, Gift Card Blogger. Instead of focusing on his company and what he wanted, he instead decided to provide relevant and important information on gift cards. That’s right, he started providing value to potential customers instead of just his services of buying and selling gift cards without the risk of fraud.

Providing Value Builds Success
Today, over 35% of Gift Card Rescue’s traffic comes directly through his blog, and he believes that a large majority of his other hits are a result of the increased traffic, resulting in better search ratings, due to his blog. In addition, through his blogging and writings Kwame has positioned himself as a leading expert in the gift card industry, a move that will pay public relations rewards many times over throughout the busy holiday seasons.

What you can learn from Gift Card Rescue
Regardless of if you are in marketing in a professional services company, a construction company, or a non-for-profit, you can look at the Gift Card Rescue model and learn three things that will help you to be successful in the Web 2.0 marketing world:

  1. You must begin by developing a strong website, brand, and an easy to navigate web presence.
  2. You need to provide value to your potential customers: You can do this through posting white papers, starting a blog, sending out weekly tips, or just explain the best way to engage a firm that provides your type of product or service. Remember, DO NOT SELL, rather provide relevant and helpful information.
  3. Leverage the value that you are developing and sharing through your website, blog, or network to establish yourself, your company, and/or your product as the best in the field.

Success in a Web 2.0 world
Success in Web 2.0 strategy, be it on LinkedIn, blogging, or as part of an online community such as Civil Engineering Central, must be defined differently than in traditional marketing. For me it is the relationships that I have made as a result of this blog, for others it is public relations, and still for others it is increased name recognition. What is important is that you identify your objectives and then focus your Web 2.0 presence to meet those objectives.

Marketing Engineering services in a Market Downturn

Carol Metzner, President of The Metzner Group, LLC, and Matt Barcus, President of Precision Executive Search, Inc., have created a great resource for the A/E/C community at Civil Engineering Central.  If you haven’t had a chance to visit the site yet let me recommend that you stop by and check out the blog and the forum page as both are great resources.

Also, the June edition of the Civil Engineering Central publication featured an article that I wrote on Marketing Engineering services in a Market Downturn that I hope you will find beneficial.  Here is the opening paragraph as a teaser, visit this link to read the rest of the article:

The engineering industry is no stranger to downturns in the market.  When the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 it caused many civil engineering firms to stumble, and if you were around in the early 1990’s you remember the major struggles of a severe market downturn and its effects on our industry.  The good news is that history has taught us a number of things to do, and not to do, in a downturn.  How we respond to the market determines our success not only during, but more importantly after the market corrects itself.  The first place to look in a downturn is always the effectiveness of your current marketing…